Women’s Heart Health Month Comes to an End

The facility that I am currently rotating at asked me to assist in preparing a women’s heart health event using resources from the facility’s women’s clinic as well as another Registered Dietitian. So, with the help of WVU’s Extension Service Love Your Heart Movement, I prepared a PowerPoint presentation on women’s heart health and the importance of keeping West Virginia’s women healthy.

Of course, on Tuesday, West Virginia was hit with another spell of bad weather. So, not as many participants could attend. But we still had a very good turnout. I led the presentation with the majority of the information coming from another Love Your Heart Movement presentation, but I also incorporated some tables and graphs from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as tips from the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7.

Midway through the presentation a Registered Dietitian had an activity showing the differences between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Some healthy fats that were displayed were walnuts, almonds, and canned tuna fish. Some unhealthy fats that were shown were butter and Crisco. This was done to show the difference between the health risks/benefits between solid fats and liquid fats as well.

We prepared for this presentation for weeks. And I’m really glad that I assisted with it because the women’s clinic at this facility is considered a special population due to the high volume of male patients they attend to. The participants seemed very engaged and willing to make those small steps towards becoming heart healthy!

I’d also like to say thank you to WVU’s Extension Service Love Your Heart Movement for not only providing the supplies, handouts, and supplemental information from one of their Extension Agents but also for providing the magnets and pins we gave the participants as incentives. The participants loved the items and information and we’re hoping for an even bigger event next year!

Facts on Women and CVD in West Virginia

CDC Burden of Chronic Disease in WV

CDC Women and Heart health Awareness

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Our Fats Demonstration! What's Healthy and What's Not?

Our Fats Demonstration! What’s Healthy and What’s Not?

Gift bags for the participants which included handouts, magnets, pins, and much more!

Gift bags for the participants which included handouts, magnets, pins, and much more!

I made red dress cards for all the participants to write their own personal goal for their health health. Then, we will hang the cards (similar to a clothesline) in the women's clinic lobby area!

I made red dress cards for all the participants to write their own personal goal for their heart health. Then, we will hang the cards (similar to a clothesline) in the women’s clinic lobby area!

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The Plant-Based Mediterranean Wallet

The Mediterranean Wallet

Americans constantly correlate a healthy lifestyle to expensive foods. This is not always the case. Yes, fresh foods, like produce for example, are normally higher in price compared to canned foods, or foods with a longer shelf-life.

Studies have shown that adopting the Mediterranean Diet helps reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, amongst other chronic health disparities. The lifestyle stresses the importance of plant-based meals. One major ingredient in the diet is olive oil. The introduction of olive oil into the diet has been determined, to aid in feeling fuller long or the feeling of satiety.

Studies have also shown that an increase in plant-based meals can lead to a decrease in food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to nutritional foods for at least some days or some meals for members of a household.

Researchers conducted a study to emphasize the use of simple, plant-based recipes and olive oil, following a Mediterranean diet pattern. A number of participants commented on how inexpensive a Mediterranean-style diet was.  So, the study approached a local food bank about designing their study using food pantry items for the program’s recipes.

Most people, who attempt at putting together a nutritionally balanced menu for their family or household, spend the bulk of their budget on meats, poultry, and seafood. These items, specifically lower-fat versions, tend to be the most expensive items someone will see on their grocery store receipt. Low socioeconomic status families will normally purchase these items first, leaving little left in the budget for healthier fruits and vegetables.

The researcher on the study explained that if the focus of the shopper could be changed to eliminate foods that are not needed to improve health from the shopping list, a healthy diet can be more economical.  Certain foods that could be crossed off that grocery store list include meats, snacks, desserts, and carbonated beverages/sodas.

The first 6 weeks of the study consisted of cooking classes where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes that incorporated ingredients like olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. The participant’s progress was tracked for 6 months after the conclusion of the cooking program.

One particular benefit for those attending the 6 week cooking class was that they were provided with groceries that contained most of the ingredients discussed by the class facilitators. The chosen ingredients provided to the participants would allow them to make 3 of the discussed recipes for their family members.

Once the classes were over, the researchers collected grocery receipts throughout the remainder of the study. Analysis of these receipts showed a significant decrease in overall purchases of meats, carbonated beverages, desserts and snacks. This was particularly interesting to the research team as they never offered instruction to the participants to avoid buying these items.

The further review of the grocery receipts showed that each household enjoyed an increase in the total number of different fruits and vegetables consumed each month. Participants cut their food spending in more than half, saving nearly $40 per week. The study also found that the reliance on food pantries decreased as well, indicating a decrease in food insecurity.

The research team also found that the cooking program had unexpected health benefits as well. Almost one-half of the participants presented loss in weight. This was not an objective in the study but, raised a few eyebrows. The study also showed an overall decrease in BMI of the participants.

Overall, this study shows that a plant-based diet, similar to the Mediterranean Diet, not only contributes to an overall improvement in health and diet. The study also highlights how a plant-based diet can contribute to decreasing food insecurity in America.

Plant-Based Med Diet Can Be Easy On the Wallet

6-week Cooking Program on Plant-Based Recipes

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The ‘Salty Six’?

The “Salty Six”- Which Foods to Avoid?

The “Salty Six”, as the American Heart Association is calling them, are extremely common everyday foods that people do not realize are packed with a high amount of sodium, which severely increases a person’s risk of developing a stroke or heart problems. Now, the AHA is revealing easy ways to lower salt consumption, even on the go. While shopping, consumers can look for the Heart-Check Mark to know which foods have been approved by the AHA as having a healthy amount of sodium.

In the U.S., salt consumption is a major issue. A new study by AHA and ASA revealed that the average American has a daily salt intake level of around 3,400 milligrams, while the recommended amount is 1,500 milligrams. This is mostly due to processed foods and restaurant foods which account for 75% of our salt consumption.

The 6 following foods are the main sources of sodium in society’s diet today:

  • Bread and rolls – Bread is packed with carbs and calories, but according to the new report, it is also high in salt, even though it does not taste salty. One piece of bread can have more than 230 milligrams of sodium, which accounts for 15% of the recommended daily amount.
  • Cold cuts and cured meats – Although cold cuts are normally seen as a healthy way to go, deli meat and pre-packaged turkey can hold up to 1,050 milligrams of sodium, and it is added to most cooked meats to keep them from spoiling.
  • Pizza – Pizza contains fat, calories and cholesterol, but according to the report, it also contains high levels of sodium, around 760 milligrams per slice.
  • Poultry – The common belief is that chicken is not bad for you. However, sodium levels found in poultry are always different, depending on how it is prepared. The best option is to stick with grilled, lean, skinless chicken, even though these kinds still have added sodium.
  • Soup – Although soup is not considered unhealthy, especially because Moms use it as a remedy when children are sick, it can contain up to 940 milligrams per serving.
  • Sandwiches – Whether it be a hamburger, tuna sandwich, or a grilled cheese, the bread of a sandwich and cured meats both contain sodium, and when ketchup or mustard is added to the mix, a sandwich could have as much as 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/241365.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252566.php

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